Jonathan Rea has clinched his first World Superbike championship with five races remaining by claiming a fourth place finish in the first race at Jerez and he dedicated his win to the late, great Joey Dunlop.
On his parade lap after he clinched the title in Race One, Rea stopped to wear the replica helmets of Irish road racing heroes Brian Reid and Joey Dunlop.
Rea is the first Northern Irishman to win a motorcycle world championship since Joey Dunlop and Brian Reid claimed the Formula 1 and 2 world titles in 1986,
“I come from a little island and road racing is big in that region,” explained Rea. “My grandfather was even involved in Dunlop’s career as his sponsor. I just wanted to celebrate two Ulstermen who won on the world stage before me.”
In what has been the most dominant romp to a World Superbike series since Carlos Checa demolished the opposition in 2011, Rea has amassed a stunning 12 victories and 20 podiums from 21 races in his debut season for Kawasaki.
Rea’s first world crown has looked an inevitability since his double win at the fourth round Assen.
Rea’s achievement makes him the fifth British rider to win the crown since the class’ inception in 1988, behind Carl Fogarty, Neil Hodgson, James Toseland and Sykes.